Five good books related to gardening have been published recently.
"A Heritage of Herbs - History, Early Gardening and Old Recipes," by Bertha P. Reppert (Stackpole Books, 190 pages, illustrated, $8.95).
Shunned by many for the greater part of the 1900s, herbs have come out of the past into the present, says the author, to take their place with instant everything, miracle drugs and better living through chemistry.
In this book plans and planting suggestions for many kinds of herb gardens are provided, as well as step-by-step instructions for herb gardening.
Detailed information on more than 50 herbs, descriptions, instructions on harvesting and preservation, and use, are including. Cooking, medicinal and cosmetic recipes are exciting and varied.
"ROOTS - An Underground Botany and Forager's Guide to the Useful Wild Roots, Tubers, Corms and Rhizomes of North America," by Douglas B. Elliott (Chatham Press, 128 pages, well illustrated, $4.95 paperback).
The book covers the roots of shade-loving plants sucha as wild geranium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Lady's Slipper, Indian cucumber and Adam and Eve root; roots of sun-loving field plants, such as dandelion, morning glory, wild carrots and sassafras; roots of aquatic and marsh plants, such as cattail, calamus and fragrant water lily; and the harvesting of roots.
Since the entire plant is destroyed in gathering most kinds of roots and rhizomes, a special conscientiousness must be exhibited when gathering them, the author says.Take plants that are growing closely together. Whenever possible, dig roots after plants have gone to seed in the fall. Care and consideration are all it takes to use and, at the same time, preserve these valuable subterranean resources.
"The Tomato Book Including Red Tomato Cookbook and Green Tomato Cookbook," by Yvonne Young Tarr (Vantage Books, 230 pages, illustrated, $5.95 paperback).
For the vast cult of tomato aficionados there are four periods of sublime pleasure, says the author . . . digging, planting and maturing, harvesting, preparing and consuming the fruits of our labors. This book is concerned with all four processes, but while as much in-depth planting information as you could need is included, the emphasis is on eating.
The recipes are not ordinary dishes with tomatoes arbitrarily plunked into ingredient lists, but are rather a collection of tested recipes where tomatoes in some way change and/or enhance the ultimate finished product, the author says.
"Gardening in Containers," by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine (Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, Calif. 64025, 80 pages, illustrated, $2.45 paperback, can be ordered direct from publishers).
Once you've tried growing plants in containers, the authors say, you will very likely become a devottee of this versatile way of gardening. Whether you tend a few pots of herbs at the kitchen door or landscape your deck completely with tubbed plants, you'll discover that containers make gardening flexible and fun.
Specific suggestions are given for using container plants, what you need to know about planting and caring for the plants, and descriptions of individual plants especially suited to container life in various situations.
"Indoor Trees," by Jack Kramer (Hawthorn, 162 pages, well illustrated, $4.95 paperback).
Indoor trees add drama to modern interiors and many times substitute for furniture, the author says. In kitchens, living rooms - all rooms - greenery can sprout. A treelike palm in the living room transforms the area from ordinary to extraordinary.
Indoor trees need specific care, he says. All in all, a whole new set of cultural rules is necessary to make trees really flourish in the home.